Louise of France Princess of Bourbon (1906)

Louise Françoise Marie Laure d’Orléans (1882 – 1958) was a Princess of the Two-Sicilies and maternal grandmother of King Juan Carlos I of Spain. Louise was the youngest daughter of Philippe d’Orléans (1838–1894), Count of Paris and claimant to the French throne as “Philippe VII”. Her mother was Princess Marie Isabelle d’Orléans (1848–1919), daughter of Antoine, Duke of Montpensier, and Infanta Luisa Fernanda of Spain.

On 16 November 1907, Louise married in Wood Norton, Evesham, Worcestershire, UK, Infante Carlos, Prince of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (1870–1949), and widower of Mercedes, Princess of Asturias, Infanta of Spain. The couple lived in Madrid and had 4 children.

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Louise of France Princess of Bourbon, 1906 via

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Louise of France Princess of Bourbon by Léopold-Émile Reutlinger, 1906 via

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Louise of France Princess of Bourbon by Léopold-Émile Reutlinger, 1906 via

Beautiful Belle Epoque Photos of Marcelle Lender

Marcelle Lender (1862 – 1926) was a French singer, dancer and entertainer made famous in paintings by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Born Anne-Marie Marcelle Bastien, she began dancing at the age of sixteen and within a few years made a name for herself performing at the Théâtre des Variétés in Montmartre.

Marcelle Lender appears in several works by Lautrec but the most notable is the one of her dancing the Bolero during her February 1895 performance in the Hervé operetta Chilpéric. Lautrec’s portrait of her in full costume, her flame-red hair accentuated by two red poppies worn like plumes, boosted Lender’s popularity considerably after it appeared in a Paris magazine. The painting was eventually sold to a collector from the United States, and on her death in 1998 the painting’s then owner, American Betsey Cushing Whitney, donated it to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

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Marcelle Lender, 1900s french postcard by Reutlinger via

 

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Marcelle Lender via

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Marcelle Lender via

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Mlle Marcelle Lender. Robe de bal par Doucet via

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Marcelle Lender via

A Collection of Vintage Photos featuring Princesse Clara Ward

The story of Clara Ward (1873 – 1916) is poorly known today, but in the early 1890s she was the toast of the United States.

She came to the public’s attention in 1889 or early 1890 when it was announced that the distinguished Belgian visitor to the United States, Marie Joseph Anatole Pierre Alphonse de Riquet, Prince de Caraman-Chimay, a member of the Belgian Chamber of Deputies, had proposed marriage to the very young, very attractive daughter of a very wealthy family.

That her husband-to-be was more than twice her age, quite poor, and even, perhaps, not very handsome, seems to have been of minor consequence.

They were married on 19 May 1890, in fin-de-siècle Paris. Ward was now properly styled “Princesse de Caraman-Chimay”, but usually went by “Clara, Princess of Chimay”. Americans were ecstatic about their new princess.

Some time after the birth of their second child, probably in 1896, the Prince and Princess Chimay were dining in Paris, at what may be expected to have been a suitably elegant establishment. Present at the restaurant was a Hungarian, Rigó Jancsi, who eked out a living providing Gypsy music.

After a series of secret meetings, Ward and Rigó eloped in December 1896. The Prince and Princesse de Caraman-Chimay were divorced on 19 January 1897. The new couple married, probably in Hungary.

Not too surprisingly, Clara Ward, still usually called the Princess Chimay, soon found her resources dwindling. The never-very-full Chimay coffers were certainly closed to her, and although Ward was resourceful, her American family had to intervene from time to time to straighten out her tangled finances.

Her main talents were being beautiful by the standards of the time, and being famous. She combined the two by posing on various stages, including at least the Folies Bergère and probably also the Moulin Rouge, while wearing skin-tight costumes. She called her art-form her poses plastiques.

Perhaps the income from this odd occupation was sufficient for the couple to live reasonably well. The idyll was not to last, Rigó being unfaithful to her. They were divorced fairly soon after their marriage, either shortly before or after Ward met her next true love, one Peppino Ricciardo, sometimes stated to have been Spanish, but who was most likely Italian. He is believed to have been a waiter whom she met on a train.

They married in 1904, but Peppino Ricciardo probably did not last long. The timing is vague, but Ward’s next true love, and her last husband, is thought to have been a station manager of the little Italian railroad that helped visitors tour Mount Vesuvius, a Signore Cassalota. Ward is believed to have still been married to her fourth husband when she died in Padua, Italy, on 9 December 1916, aged 43. There was a rumor that she died a pauper with nothing left except a few jewels. But the American Consul at Venice stated publicly that she “was in possesion of a very large income and lived in a manner befitting its possessor

In her lifetime she had spent much time in both the society and gossip columns of two continents. She had been widely known, envied and admired, desired, loathed and reviled. She was often photographed, and featured on many postcards during the Edwardian period, sometimes in a pose plastique and sometimes in more or less conventional dress.

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A young Clara Ward

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Clara Ward, postcard via

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Clara Ward, Postcard via

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Clara ward via

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Clara Ward, Postcard via

Clara Ward with Rigo Jancsi – Triomphe de la Femme, 1905 via

Clara Ward, by Léopold-Emile Reutlinger, ca. 1905 via

 

A Collection of Vintage Photos featuring Maud Allan the Salomé Dancer

Canadian pianist-turned-actor, dancer and choreographer Maud Allan (1873 – 1956) was born as Beulah Maude Durrant. She spent her early years in San Francisco, California, moving to Germany in 1895 to study piano at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. She changed her name in part by the scandal surrounding her brother Theodore Durrant, who was hanged in 1898 for murder. Allan never recuperated from the trauma of this event. She abandoned piano-playing and developed a new means of self-expression through dance.

Shortly before she began dancing professionally Allan is said to have illustrated an encyclopedia for women titled Illustriertes Konversations-Lexikon der Frau.

In 1906 her production “Vision of Salomé” opened in Vienna. Based loosely on Oscar Wilde’s play ,Salomé, her version of the Dance of the Seven Veils became famous (and to some notorious) and she was billed as “The Salomé Dancer”. Her book My Life and Dancing was published in 1908 and that year she took England by storm in a tour in which she did 250 performances in less than one year.

Allan is remembered for her “famously impressionistic mood settings”. She was athletic, had great imagination and even designed  and sewed her own costumes. But she had little formal dance training. She was once compared to professional dancer and legend Isadora Duncan, which greatly enraged her, as she disliked Duncan.

Around 1918 Allan’s popularity began to take a turn. In a hope of earning back some of her public adoration she starred in a private performance of the ‘Vision of Salome’ and irked homophobic right-wing nationalist MP Noel Pemberton Billing. Mr Billing wanted Allan’s downfall as there was a rumor circulating that she had a lesbian affair with Margot Asquith, the wife of former prime minister Herbert Asquith. He believed that Allan and the Asquiths were all German spies; which he implied in an article. Allan sued Billing for criminal libel, but she lost the case.

Hence, from the 1920s on Allan taught dance and she lived with her secretary and lover, Verna Aldrich. She died in Los Angeles, California.

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Maud Allan, ca. 1906 via

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Maud Allan as Salome, ca. 1906 via

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Maud Allan as Salome, c.1906 via

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Maud Allan as Salome, ca. 1906 via

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Maud Allan by Bassano, 1913 via

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Maud Allan by Reutlinger, 1909 via

Glamour Portraits of Stage Actress Ellen Baxone by Reutlinger (1905)

Ellen Baxone was an actress, who was living in Paris at the beginning of the twentieth century.

She is known for her role in the humorous short film about the world of cinema C’est pour les orphelins (1916)

In 1907 she starred alongside Alice de Tender in the play Imbroglio Princier at La Scala in Paris.

In addition to portraits by Reutlinger, she is also known for a postcard portrait designed by Gustave Brisgand.

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Belle Epoque Stage Actress, Miss Ellen Baxone, Covered in Silk. French Photo Postcard by Reutlinger, 1905 via

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Belle Epoque Stage Actress, Miss Ellen Baxone, Covered in Silk. French Photo Postcard by Reutlinger, 1905 via

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Belle Epoque Stage Actress, Miss Ellen Baxone, Covered in Silk. French Photo Postcard by Reutlinger, 1905 via

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Belle Epoque Stage Actress, Miss Ellen Baxone, Covered in Silk. French Photo Postcard by Reutlinger, 1905 via

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Belle Epoque Stage Actress, Miss Ellen Baxone, Covered in Silk. French Photo Postcard by Reutlinger, 1905 via

Stunning Photos of Belle Epoque Beauty Cléo de Mérode

Dancer Cleo de Merode  (1875 – 1966) became famous at a young age. Born in Bordeaux, France, she came from an aristocratic family. Her father was a member of the Belgian nobility and a landscape painter.

In 1896, King Léopold II attended the ballet and saw Mérode dance. The 61-year-old Belgian King became enamoured with the 22-year-old ballet star, and gossip started that she was his latest mistress. Because the King had had two children with a woman reputed to be a prostitute, Cléo de Mérode’s reputation suffered, and she had to live with it for the rest of her life. Nevertheless, Cléo de Mérode became an international star, performing across Europe and in the United States. 

Mérode became renowned for her glamour even more than for her dancing skills, and her image began appearing on postcards and playing cards. A particular new hairstyle she chose at age 16 became the talk of Parisian women and was quickly adopted as a popular style – parted in the middle, pulled back over the ears and wound into a chignon at the back, often worn with metal band.

At the peak of her popularity, she chose to dance at the Folies Bergère, taking the risk to do something other elites of the ballet had never done before. Her performance gained her a whole new following. Her fame was such that Alexandre Falguière sculpted The Dancer in her image, which today can be seen in the Musée d’Orsay. In 1895, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec did her portrait, as would Charles Puyo, Alfredo Muller, and Giovanni Boldini.

Mérode continued to dance until her early fifties, when she retired to the seaside resort of Biarritz in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques département of France. In 1955, she published her autobiography, Le Ballet de ma vie (The Dance of My Life).

She died in 1966 and was interred in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris in Division 90. A statue of her, mourning her mother, who is interred in the same plot, decorates the gravestone.

Carte postale, (envoyée en 1901), illustrée d’une photographie de Cléo de Mérode en costume de scène via

Studio NPG, Portrait of Cleo de Merode, 1903 via

Cléo de Mérode by Leopold Reutlinger, 1900 via

Cléo de Mérode by Reutlinger via

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Cléo de Merode by Charles Ogerau, 1893 via

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Cléo de Mérode via

Cléo de Mérode, 1910 via

Amazing Vintage Photos of La Belle Otéro

Carolina “La Belle” Otéro (4 November 1868 – 12 April 1965) was a Galician born dancer, actress, courtesan and possibly the worlds first film star.

Her given name was Agustina Otero Iglesias. After a troubled childhood she left home at age twelve and found small jobs in cafés, bordellos, and music halls. She married twice before finding a sponsor in Barcelona who moved with her to Marseilles in order to promote her dancing career in France. She soon left him and created the character of La Belle Otero, fancying herself an Andalusian gypsy.

At the age of twenty-one she joined the Follies Bergere in Paris. Otéro was pretty, confident, intelligent and with an attractive figure. After becoming the star of Follies Bergere she was a sought after courtesan to the wealthy and powerful men of the day. She associated herself with the likes of Prince Albert I of Monaco, King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, Kings of Serbia, and Kings of Spain as well as Russian Grand Dukes Peter and Nicholas, the Duke of Westminster and the writer Gabriele D’Annunzio. Her love affairs made her infamous, and the envy of many other notable female personalities of the day.

It was once said of her that her extraordinarily dark black eyes were so captivating that they were “of such intensity that it was impossible not to be detained before them”.

Six men reportedly committed suicide after their love affairs with Otero ended, although this has never been substantiated. It is a fact, however, that two men did fight a duel over her.

In August 1898, in St-Petersburg, the French film operator Félix Mesguich (an employee of the Lumière company) shot a one-minute reel of Otero performing the famous “Valse Brillante”, making her possibly the first film star in history.

Otéro retired after World War I. She had accumulated a massive fortune over the years, about US$25 million. Otéro died at the age of 97, by that time she had squandered all of her fortune away through her lavish lifestyle. In her final years she lived in a more and more pronounced state of poverty until she died of a heart attack in 1965 in her one-room apartment at the Hotel Novelty in Nice.

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La Belle Otero by NPG of Berlin, circa 1906 via

La Belle Otero via

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La Belle Otero as Byzantine Empress by Reutlinger of Paris. Antique French Postcard, 1901 via

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La Bel­le Otéro by Léopold Reu­tlin­ger via

La Belle Otero in an orientalizing costume for the Folies Bergere ... 
La Belle Otero in an orientalizing costume for the Folies Bergere, 1901

La Belle Otero via

La Belle Otero with Maria who portrayed her in the film “La Belle Otero”.

A Colection of Photos Featuring Belle Epoque Beauty Genevieve Lantelme

Geneviève “Ginette” Lantelme (Mathilde Hortense Claire Fossey, b. 1883) was a French stage actress, socialite, fashion icon, and courtesan. She frequently collaborated with Madeleine Vionnet and Jeanne Paquin, two prominent French fashion designers of her day, to produce her memorable clothing ensembles. Lantelme was also known for her voluminous hats, as can be seen in the postcards and other images of her that are collected to this day.

Considered by her contemporaries to be one of the most beautiful women of the Belle Epoque, she is remembered for the mysterious circumstances of her death: on the night of July 24/25, 1911, she fell from the yacht of her husband, Alfred Edwards.

The official verdict was that the actress had drowned as the result of a tragic accident. However, many people speculated that Edwards had murdered his wife. In the autumn of 1911, two French newspapers, La Depéche Parlementaire and La Griffe, published their accusation that Edwards had murdered Lantelme; Edwards sued the publication for libel and won, although both newspapers escaped severe punishment.

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Geneviève Lantelme in a big hat, photo circa 1910 via

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Geneviève Lantelme by Reutlinger, photo circa 1902 via

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Geneviève Lantelme, photo circa 1910 via

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Genevieve Lantelme in Madeleine Vionnet’s déshabillé, designed in 1907 at Maison Doucet via